“A lot of things can happen when you have an insecure leader. None of it very good.”
That bit of wisdom was passed along to me by a wise mentor many years ago, and it has helped to guide my leadership ever since.
The reason for the power of this statement is that a sense of personal security is the oil that keeps the machinery of a leader working.
If a leader is wracked with insecurity, it won’t simply render them ineffective. It will actually undermine everything they have been attempting to build.
But this raises an important question; “Is there an objective way to tell if you really are a secure leader?”
While there may be no scientifically-verifiable way to know for sure, the following self-evaluation questions can give you a pretty good idea.
1. If a contribution I made to a project is not publicly acknowledged, do I feel wronged?
2. Do I feel a hint of jealousy when the accomplishment of a colleague is being celebrated?
3. If I hear about a meeting that I was not invited to, do I feel concerned about being excluded?
4. Am I uncomfortable letting someone else lead a meeting when I am technically in charge?
5. Do I need to be “cc’d” on every email that flows through my department?
6. Am I easily upset if someone points out ways in which my work could improve?
7. Do I place my own survival ahead of the team’s mission?
8. Do I get nervous if I am not hearing people say good things about me?
9. Is it important that people consider me to be more successful than my predecessor?
10. Do I feel in any way threatened when I see a younger leader rising through the ranks?
If you said “Yes” to several of these questions, you might have a concerning level of insecurity in your leadership.
And while there’s no magic wand you can wave to eradicate insecurity, the first step to overcoming these tendencies is through ruthless self-awareness. Keep a list like this handy, review it often, and use it to measure your growth as a secure leader.
Because it’s true; a lot of things can happen when you have an insecure leader.
None of it very good.